The Portrait Conversation
Episode 15
Brooke Einbender, Artist
New Frontiers in Art: Adventures in Extended Reality (XR), NFTs & Crypto Art

The Portrait Conversation welcomes special guest Brooke Einbender, Artist, Extended Reality (XR) and NFT Art Pioneer, & Crypto Art Entrepreneur.

Part 1 (1 hour 45 minutes)
Brooke succinctly explains the terms Mixed Reality (MR), Extended Reality (XR), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and much more. She relates these terms to her own art practice and explorations. She shares her journey into these new frontiers of digital art, including her influences and inspirations. The artists she mentions in the context of her Wake Forest University Student Union Art Acquisition Trip are all referenced in this article, including links to their work that the students collected. In Part 2 we dive deeper into her work in all these areas and learn about her latest exciting project!

Part 2 (2 hour 32 minutes)
Brooke explains her process of mixing the physical with the virtual, how she extends her oil paintings using virtual augmentation, including the use of the Google Tilt Brush Virtual Reality (VR) paint program to capture video for Augmented Reality (AR) as well as for projection mapping. She shares some recent examples of projection mapping where she projected onto a building and onto a rocky hillscape. She then shares a variety of cool VR collaborative projects and dives deeper into her NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens) artworks that are tokenized on the blockchain, sold for crypto currency and include unlockable content. Finally Brooke describes her incredible “Unknown Zone” doors/portals project that will span six continents and involve thousands of musical and visual artists.

Brooke Einbender is a pioneer in the exploration of XR (extended reality) art & community-based VR (virtual reality) collaboration. She’s establishing new frontiers at the intersection of where art and technology meet in the context of its impact on human consciousness. She creates mind-bending experiences purposed to harness spiritual energy; transporting the viewer to different inter-spatial dimensions. Her work blends several disciplines into one – painting, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, installation, and video – to form an altogether “Unknown Zone” of Art.

Brooke Einbender graduated from Wake Forest University (2017) as a Presidential Scholar for Visual Arts with a concentration in oil painting. She currently is a resident artist at Voodoo Studios in Telluride, CO. In March 2020, Brooke launched her first solo exhibition at Gallery 81435 in Telluride which showcased her newest series of augmented reality enabled oil paintings. Einbender is passionate about collaborating in VR. Her digital portfolio of immersive experiences has established her reputation in an emerging field; as a “VJ,” or “Visual Jockey.” She enjoys creating trippy visuals for musicians and has collaborated with festivals, locally and internationally, including Burningman Multiverse 2020, Original Thinkers Festival, and Ranetas Festival in Spain, to name a few. Brooke currently works with The Nelson Lab at UCLA to render their molecular research in VR.

Brooke approaches her virtual reality and oil paintings as experiments. When starting a painting, she has no vision of what the end result should look like. Letting her intuition be her only guide, Brooke begins with disorderly, random acts, embracing mistakes and the unknown. Her painting practice shifts between chaos and order, organic and geometric shapes, and irregularity and symmetry.

Brooke’s process involves translating and transmuting her oil paintings into virtual reality. Using her paintings as her initial construct, she no longer has to create an illusion of space on a 2D surface. Virtual reality enables Brooke to expand the layers of her physical paintings, which in turn, allows her audience to fully immerse themselves inside the artwork. She seeks to constantly dissect, replicate, and layer parts of her oil paintings to create new material as a basis for future 3D digital works. Each of Brooke’s original oil paintings evolves into having a soulful counterpart within a virtual plane of existence, taking on a new digital identity. Brooke’s work raises the question: In today’s world, where does the real begin and the virtual end, or can we no longer distinguish between the two?

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Jeremy Sutton

Originally from London, I studied drawing, sculpture and print-making at the Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing, Oxford University (while earning a degree in Physics), and subsequently studied at the Vrije Academie in The Hague, The Netherlands. I\'ve been using digital paint since 1991, including every version of Painter. I love teaching and have taught workshops and given presentations all over the world for the last twenty years. I create commissioned fine art paintings and perform live action painting and digital portraiture. I founded PaintboxTV in February 2009. Thank you for being part of this creative community!

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